When this “truly decentralized” blockchain launched on May 7, 2020, it had not sold a single token.
That’s unique for a proof-of-stake blockchain, which generally relies on validators who stake a fair amount of a project’s tokens to ensure good behavior.
In that incarnation, Telegram presold $1.7 billion worth of tokens to investors. But the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission stepped in, calling the sale an illegal securities offering, and forcing Telegram to return $1.2 billion to investors and abandon the project.
With so much work done, however, 17 other TON developers decided to keep the blockchain going, but make it “one of the largest social experiments in the world in terms of truly decentralized governance,” according to Alexander Filatov, CEO of Free TON core developer TON Labs. “Nobody runs or owns this project. There is no foundation. There is no legal entity. It’s a fully community-driven project. We did not do any ICO or token sale in any shape or form.”
Instead, the five billion TON Crystal (TON) tokens are being distributed in community-developed and judged contests — not centrally